Reflecting beyond the day I found out why.

All Posts by Prescott Paulin
Prescott is a graduate of Babson College, served as an officer in the US Marine Corps, trained police officers at the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, launched POLITICO Pro Defense, and now serves as the International Research Consultant for his family business, 300 Below, Inc. After cardiac arrest, brief death, and subsequent revival, his reflections on an inspired second chance at life are posted here daily. Read the full story here >

Soundtracks For Each Day

Published August 24, 2014 in Daily Reflections - 0 Comments

Music woke me up even further.

I will share 3 powerful observations and reflections emerging today:
(as well as a brief background on the technology facilitating my speedy mental recovery)

(1) Curiosity: Strangers’ travels and observations lend new perspective.
(2) Connecting: Listening reveals unbuilt bridges, for yourself and others.
(3) Kindness: Give a little, get a lot.

FRUSTRATION is inevitable today though. Before we get to the good stuff, let me open up and be honest with what I’m facing. While I’m moving again, I’m not at 100%. Walking slow is not as frustrating to me as it is to the people around me. I’m used to walking at an East Coast pace, and it clearly upsets my two travel companions who walked ahead of me in the airport today. They were also frustrated that I share my thoughts publicly, maybe because they are both very private people or maybe because they just don’t understand WHY I would open up to anyone.

Here is WHY I share: I have received at least one daily PM or comment from friends who say my honest sharing here in an open forum has changed their own perspective, helped them with depression, and in some cases brought new tears, happiness and meaning into their own lives. That’s powerful, and if I have just one (1!) person tell me tomorrow that this post was worth writing then that will motivate me enough to keep writing further. I haven’t written this much for so long, but if I can inspire you to take a CPR class and save a life, you certainly deserve my authorship in order to be inspired through the continued perspective I am receiving from around me. Maybe with your comments, these lifelong mentors of mine will be more supportive of an investment born heavily by the pen. The death-defying event that brought us together should KEEP us together, not create fractional conflict merely because I am open minded about publicly sharing my interpretations through heightened senses.

Rather than criticize others who may disagree with my choices or behavior, as criticism for specific people should be done in private rather than public, I need to look toward optimism. Any faults discussed publicly might as well reside on my end, right? What if my blunt nature is causing heads to collide? The people who love me must be tired, too, after this long journey we’ve endured together. I need them to have a little more faith that I will not fail them, while I work on improving my own communication so that I may ask for their help when it is needed, too.

So, let’s move onto the airport .. It AMAZES me how many men could benefit from Emily Post’s book on etiquette. I’ll take it a step further and say that chivalry should be alive. There are too many women lifting heavy carry on luggage without anyone offering to help them, and I am frustrated sitting idly by after being ordered not to lift more than 5 lbs. for the time period covering this trip. As I contemplate how to mask my own weak stride, I come to the decision that such an evolution involves walking with swagger and symphony. My parents feel differently; my dad tells me to hurry up. He’s thinking there is nothing wrong because, after all, I’m alive and my heart tests are fine. I don’t seek his sympathy, but it would be nice if my parents weren’t so driven by the clock, but the plane surely isn’t waiting for us. As I look around the terminal, everyone else is in a hurry. In fact, the only person I pass in the concourse walking SLOWER than me is a TSA employee, head down on her cell phone. Aren’t they supposed to be looking for terrorists? … or something?

Baby steps occur: Mini recoveries are sought until I will sprint again. My mind thinks faster than my heart is ready to beat, and often my thoughts are constrained by the physical limits of these fingers typing or my tongue talking. Luckily we were designed as humans with two eyes, two ears, and only one mouth. I have observed and listened a great deal more today than I ever have in a 24 hour period so that I may now relate to time and its restrictions while attempting to appreciate my physical hindrances by focusing on improving my memory recall, note taking and walking speed. Authorship using the SwiftKey program enables my fingers to “Swype” on Android while acting as a conduit to improve such an enhanced weakness while being constantly corrected by its algorithms. This little app usually knows what I am trying to say because it has already analyzed the way I speak for the past several months. Predictive typing gives me an advantage to think through my own words while storing them in Evernote. I am diving farther into the Mobile Wave that Michael Saylor has foreshadowed.

INSECURITY. I feel like people are judging my weakness as they pass glances at my stride. My bags are being pushed in front of me like a walker, not pulled from behind me. I want to be normal already, but it’s not fooling anyone. Since I’m not a pro at walking slow, I turn to the crowd and observe. It seems the slower people that are my age (besides the ones on their cell phones) are walking casually with earbuds and headphones capturing the attention of one of their senses. It makes sense to me now… Maybe adding symphony to your stride requires ears filled with harmony and an open mind. I need to find the music, and find yet another weakness. Knowledge is lacking. What is my soundtrack supposed to be today? I soon find strength through textured rhythms, but I won’t know it until the end of my flight to the Big Apple.

Since I was committed to flying today, Tommy (Finnish) and Adam (British) became my international wild cards today. Given my recent condition, First Class was up for grabs, but there was no room for the leading lady in my life. So, like any loyal gentleman, I made sure she got the second seat I was assigned to and I headed back to sit with the fun section. As we all got seated and ready for takeoff, I asked, “So, where are you from?” to a person I never knew. I received a complicated answer and I knew I was going to like this guy. He’s 23 years old and just got back from 3 months in Asia. We started talking about the countries we enjoyed over there, and then asked the gentleman between us, Tommy, if he had been to Asia. The answer was no, minus a stopover in Hong Kong onto Australia. Learning about his experience in Sydney led to discussions as to whether walking the bridge was worth the price for the view or not. His thought process was fascinating to see, as he worked diligently to convert the Austrailian Dollar price into British Pounds and finally into US currency.

We all hashed out which countries we enjoyed most, and learned that Adam had just returned to the US to surprise his family who was on vacation north of New Orleans in Louisiana. His love of food in America is underscored with Dallas steakhouses, while fish was a prevalent source of nutrients for Tommy. Since the runner who inspired my race last week is Danish, I was interested to learn more when Adam made a comment about Finland being Scandanavian. But Adam and I learned that Finland is technically not part of the mountainous area that makes up Scandanavia. As our understanding of European geopolitics deepened, we neared the end of the flight. I had purchased Vosges caramels and offered one to Tommy. He smiled, and said, “I’ve kept this big Finnish chocolate bar in my bag for the whole trip, and I’ve been meaning to give it to someone, and now I realize why it nearly made it back on the flight home.” It made me smile that such a small gesture on my part could be returned with an even bigger one on his part, and that made me realize the nature of good karma. For kindness between a total stranger, or even someone you know, if you give a little out today, it’s always lots more that comes back in the near future. Our mouths full of chocolate, smiles wide, the conversation took a natural pause. I turn my head toward the cockpit and close my eyes.

My mission today comes back into focus. Before business starts up on Tuesday in DC, I’m here to see my brother and check off one of my bucket list items: Diner en Blanc, this Monday. Google it.

To get in the spirit of this trip, it was time enter my New York State of Mind… I donned noise-cancelling headphones and spun up Gramatik’s “A Bright Day” Phat Cut Remix before landing. I opened my eyes a few thousand feet up prior and saw Tommy look over. I pulled the headphones off and smiled as I handed them his way. He loved the texture and appreciated the gesture. “Wow,” he said, “that is cool.” I put the headphones back on and the next track spun up from the album. I was jolted as we hit the pavement at 180 mph, looking down to see it was the one called “Still Here.” I felt the pavement all right, at the end of another new run, except I’m left standing this time to carry out my mission after sharing harmony with a total stranger.

We grab a NYC taxi from JFK Airport and head to our hotel. The driver is Sikh, and surprisingly is not wearing the turban that is commonly mistaken as a muslim accessory. It is not. I learn that they believe also in one God, who they have different names for. Sounds familiar. Just as any good congregation, they offer programs to help the community around them. Anyone can come for food when in need, 24 hours a day. It reminds me that my friend Navroop Mitter is Sikh, and gives me newfound appreciation for our friendship by understanding his belief system on a deeper level in unity with my own, seeking eternal truth. This driver says they have their own holy music, and he starts his day often in prayer, but mostly attends their version of church on Sunday, as with most Sikh believers. Expanding my questions and my knowledge through curiosity is both fun and enlightening, as I now collect more patterns for internal debate and analysis.

Dinner is next. The menu is easy for me, since I only have 3 options. Aside from sparkling water, my brother separately orders Mezcal, and I taste a drop of it. It hits my system with its smoky scent as if smoke could rise to fill my sinuses from a sliding batch of these molecules now attached to my chapped lips. I flick my tongue to capture the essence of taste and find that my saliva grows thick with the roasted agave coating my throat like sap exiting from a maple tree. I’m not ready for alcohol, but I appreciate the reintroduction of its complexity as I cut into my steak, now thinking about what I learned regarding Sikh culture. This man said that Sikhs prioritize food based on availability. Animals are fine, but if you have access to vegetables, eat them first. I see the pile of steamed asparagus that I’ve ordered, and feel a bit more guilty in contemplation that learning openly about his belief system has me self-reflecting on my Paleo dietary choices at our own dinner table.

Our dessert is music; my soul is seeking its soundtrack for today, and we’ve decided on the jazz club where I’ll collect it. Its performers seem to be fitted together in a “tonight only” sort of a way. It’s all impromptu and not recorded. You experience the jazz live, unhindered, and unable to replay what you’ve heard. To me, that means transformational once witnessed, so I get out my ink pen and start writing.

I have loved techno, house, and all the new styles comprising EDM, but tonight I am seeing with my eyes that EDM is the pacemaker of the music world. It’s time to find my heart again, and that means a human heart beating with soul. As the lights dim and the set begins, a saxophone player takes the stage in the center. I think of Rosemary Casey, my friend and beautiful sax player, and wonder how she interprets jazz. Every single performer seems to have their eyes closed, focused exclusively on their tactile and auditory senses to express their inner heart. This is fascinating, because when I came back to life in the hospital I could not see anything. My eyes were open but not functioning. I could hear, and recognize the voice of my father, and squeeze his hand. Music is like opening those same floodgates of initial consciousness, and jazz is like the ADD kid in me jumping all over the place, coming to life. Jazz is random, but calculated; patterned, but unpredictable. The only time the eyes fully opened, they sought the appreciation of the crowd around them. Was the music they made good enough for their crowd? This psychology is fascinating to me… These guys are already amazing!! Why would they question that? It’s about perspective, right?

Now I’m seeing the drummer, who is jamming out with the stare of Milton from Officespace. The guy looks like he is running with his feet, but his disproportional upper body is perfectly fixed upward at its core, supporting the limbs to move feverishly across pedals and drums to control the output that the rest of the group adheres to. He keeps the rhythm and paces the run at the desired intensity. They now have added a Gibson Guitar, which puts a smile on my face since our company cryogenically treats all of Gibson’s fret wire. It’s actually my biggest account that I serve. Then I notice the lights on the bassist in the background. There are two fingers lit, with the rest in the shadows. I think about two as a number … interesting my room number is 522… two guardian angels… could it be the first 5 is really just a 2 upside down, in distress? Okay, don’t over analyze… Watching the fingers becomes my small obsession for the next few minutes as I witness some of the most beautiful textured music without words. It’s in line with discovering my New York State of Mind. Fingers are the paintbrushes of the swagger and symphony. Now I’m thinking, “Change your walk, obscure your weakness.”

Now the saxophonist’s fingers are going again. I had a saxophone in junior high, but my fingers were never this fast until they touched a computer keyboard. Now, I’m wondering if I could go back and learn an instrument. If my paintbrushes would move at the same speed as I write, we would be making music again. The rhythm is alluring because it sounds like me having ADD. These fingers are like biting flies that you can’t kill fast enough, attacking every note on brass to obtain the optimal duress and squeal that from this instrument is actually a beautiful kind of chaos worthy of being called Jazz. The drummer agrees, and looks like he’s twirling a thick pencil in his right hand with a chopstick in his left. This chopstick is poised at a 45˚ angle as if it were a magic wand, willing the cymbals to create the taa-ta-ta-taa rhythm by using the outer edge of an 18” cymbal.

The piano player takes control now of the melody. His fingers work with the arch of an excited first time massage therapist that stabs its keys with the precision of a Chinese acupuncturist on vital points to release Chi to the body. I ask my mom if her hands can fly as fast on the piano in translation. She says, “Well sure, if I know the song!” (But in Jazz, you don’t know ever, from my understanding. Feels like ADM.) Zen is inevitable as the bassist takes the stage back through his solo performance. His left hand creeps along the neck of the bass as if acting out as the itsy bitsy spider with one or two fingers migrating with an open web of the hand as it charges the fret to life with the effort of the right. The sax and guitar have returned and change course to invoke a sultry Barry Manilow-worthy charm. The saxophonist now shifts his fingers away from stinging like bees to be more like butterflies. My eyes watch now as the fingers are reapplied by the bassist with less aggression as they pet strings with precision. The peace signs return as the guitar transcends into a preacher giving a musical sermon, eyes gripped shut by the memory of a familiar gospel known only to this guitarist. His very strokes are amplified ironically by a Fender reverb AMP as his body sways in 360˚ while his feet remain planted.

As I’m writing feverishly with a pen at everything I’m seeing tonight, I wonder if these guys think I’m a music writer, or if they even care since their eyes are shut the majority of the time. The point is that I’ve been reminded of three things today:
Curiosity, Connecting and Kindness. With a good soundtrack to start and live your day, those three can be found both in the music and in your inspired actions.

Whether you apply these actions to your friends, a loved one, or a stranger, I would love to know:
Which of the three most inspires you?
Which do you think will be the hardest to apply today?

Let me inspire you toward taking action in your life today! Carpe Diem and Semper Fi.

[Not My] Last Meal

Published August 23, 2014 in Daily Reflections - 0 Comments

Tonight shook me. More insights caused tears to flow again before eating my first dinner back home. I am a continued witness to patterns I cannot explain; the scientific explanation would suggest my experience flows from a creative subconscious after recent trauma. But I am fully alive and awake while writing this missive. I am headed to be now after this post and will fly tomorrow with family to NYC to see my brother, Parker.

If you have not read my prior posts, I am told by witnesses that I died this Sunday and rose again the same day, yet I have no personal memory of this experience. I share these encounters honestly without conjecture, and I encourage my reflections to be taken only as you are willing to see them yourself. I trust that the close friends I have will believe me to be candid, as they know that I would never lead them astray.

To disclaim, I do not consider myself holy, ordained, or divine; I am a man full of many sins, and I have trained with other patriotic volunteers to both take lives and save them. No regrets: I will always be a sheepdog among sheep and wolves. While I was raised in a Christian household, it is my mom who now goes to Church, and I have not attended for quite sometime.

Exactly one week ago, my mom invited me to come back with her to church, and on Friday I met a family in Champaign whose daughter asked me to join them in church, too. Holding priority to a friend who suggested that I enter a 10K race with her husband, I ignored them and opted for an adrenaline rush last Sunday.

Before I share events transpiring tonight, I will provide the background filtering my perspective. So you can find it easily, anything preceded with (*) is an event experienced today that has caused my reflection. Everything else remains previously justified in my own mind from past experiences. As context is usually appreciated, helping others understand WHY I believe something seems both fair and appropriate.

I was moulded for years by our nation’s best battle-hardened men and women (with far more experience in worldly deployments and being shot at than I have ever known) to be your best friend or your worst enemy. At this point in life, I seek no enemies, but will always rise back against any who threaten our fellow citizens and anyone abroad who is weaker and unable to protect (or decide for) themselves. I have never read any “scripture” front to back, but I did appreciate the tireless work of our military Chaplain Corps.

I seek not to shape your faith apart from whatever you believe in now, though I personally believe in positivity for our society through the power of affirmation in something greater than yourself. In college, that meant I could be more than a socially awkward computer nerd, and could change lives by joining a community that embodies honor, courage and commitment. My cousins, Nick and Drew, were the source of that encouragement and inspiration after they enlisted and saw combat; I have always strived to honor them, and our family, through my own actions so they would remain proud.

I believe in volunteering yourself to a higher power so long as you honor your fellow men and women around you; what I would call my brothers and sisters in arms. Teachers of our society’s admirable topics, to me, hold the most honorable profession; all of my mother’s sisters have served as teachers. My dad’s sister did, too. Dad (his name is Peter) is like John Galt, as a free market favoring entrepreneur who has taught kids about investing through Junior Achievement, and my mom (her name is Mary, but we call her Kit) helps other people save for retirement and send their kids to college. Her reputation in our community is built 100% on trust, and business is earned through word of mouth, as well as my brother and I staying out of trouble. (haha – I love you Mom!)

(*) This morning started normal, going to the gym with my dad at 5:30. My doctor said the max weight was 5 lbs. so that is what I started bench pressing. It’s better to start small than not start at all, right?  It was great to see everyone there, with smiling faces and hugs all the way around. The ML Crossfit / Club Fitness community is stronger than any other local gym I’ve ever been to.

(*) I went to work after that with my dad, brought our dog to the office, and sent an email to an ADM VP who I relate well to and had been trying to schedule another meal with from time to time. Though we’ve continued to miss each other through travel, today we both had nothing on our calendars at noon, so we finally got to do lunch at Jan’s East End Grill. I had tuna salad and chicken with veggies; he had fried walleye. I told him what had transpired, and discovered that he attended First Christian Church. He invited me to join him.

I’ve never attended FCC, but the pastor’s daughter Jacqueline Kent went to grade school with my brother and I had just met him the week prior to last Sunday during another lunch I had with my grade school friend, Shalen, and our chemist, Dave Perring. Pastor Kent invited me to join him at FCC. I told Shalen that I believe in a higher power, but I am encouraged to see all religions coexisting peacefully.

I don’t need a church to believe or trust in God or anything else. (AND I’m certainly NOT a fan of churches created by *phony* impostors who use their 501(c)3 status to avoid paying taxes by having their church purchase the real estate for the “pastor’s” house so they can escape paying income and property taxes like any other normal American citizen; siphoning funds from the poor people in their community and showing up to church in their Mercedes-Benz is appalling. My opinion: only real preachers immersed in their religions deserve this exemption.)

To me, a church is irrelevant to the personal connection you establish with the higher power you believe in, whereas true FAITH in a particular religion or doctrine is portable and relevant anywhere. Believing in SOMETHING is better than nothing. Ironically, my parents named me Prescott, after the town where they met in flight school while becoming pilots, and my name technically means “Priest’s Cottage” … so for me it’s easy to say internalizing faith, right? lol …anyways, many people join a congregation given the appeal of meeting like-minded individuals and participating in a community that is enjoyable and outwardly responsive to the charitable needs of others, as most people who go to congregate have never FULLY read the texts they profess to believe in but would like to take the best pieces that convey actionable information and encourage action upon them. Further, “Show and Tell” churches selfishly damage credibility of faith-based organizations and siphon funding from our inner city. The behavior of tax avoidance for personal gain through “preaching” is criminal, in my opinion, and we have several of them in Decatur from what I’m hearing…

(*) I came home after work, and was visited by an old friend. He loves us, and we love him, though he’s a strong believer in a religious group that rejects military service, and is not personally compatible with my values as an American. He joined a group because he enjoys the discipline of his congregation in reading and learning, which is ironic since that is taught in our military today. Instead of debating his beliefs and community, he sight advice about getting his weight down to a manageable level. He appreciated the GC supplements given to him to help his bones and joints be less painful, and also was encouraged by my advice to eliminate glutens (wheat, etc), beans, refined sugars, and dairy from his diet. Common ground we can agree on! We hugged and parted ways.

(*) When I walked him outside to say goodbye, I noticed my neighbor was home and outside his yard. We go shooting together and he’s an instructor on the SWAT team. His competence is outstanding, and I respect him greatly. We have never talked about church before, but I mentioned my trauma just as his wife, a medical sales rep, pulls up in the driveway with their daughters, recently home from school. She just started selling automated CPR vests through a major medical company, and is amazed that no one in the Veteran’s Affairs hospital community knows anything about them. After she hears about the recent miracle, she mentions that her family goes to First Christian Church and invites me to join them sometime. She even offers to come over to my house and tell me about her experiences, encouraging me to explain my perspectives and current belief system, which appreciates multiple interpretations of the truths we face in this world. She laughs because her church is holding a new visitor orientation in two weeks, and she was brought initially to the community by the mother of my best friend in high school, Wes Sterr. Yet I don’t remember his mom ever mentioning this church. Her daughters are over, and the middle child is playing beautiful piano music in the background on my mom’s piano as we are speaking.

(*) Shortly after this dialogue, our family friends from France, Flo and Gil Lebois, show up with Flo’s famous French chocolate mousse. Eggs and Dark Chocolate… whipped into a cold airy delight. So good. I tell them it’s Friday night, and I have no plans. My parents had prior dinner plans with friends. It would be fun to do something, if they want to pick the restaurant. They choose a Japanese-style restaurant, but it’s full because of the weekend rush, so we opt for TapRoot, where they know the Chef/Owner and can get a table without too long of a wait. While driving to downtown Decatur from across the bridge in Forsyth, where I now live, I realize there is a business card in my pocket from a guy I met two nights prior to the race at a restaurant in Champaign. He’s the President and CEO of Tuscola National Bank, whose logo is a gold embossed T split in half with a line down the middle… it looks like two wings or something. Lloyd A. Murphy… I sent him an email on Saturday but it bounced back, so I can’t reach him directly through normal communication, but I remember exactly what he said when I asked him about what he does at the bank. He said he holds savings for people over the years, and more recently has been finding himself attending funerals as part of his job. Well, I met him 48 hours before I died. Talk about foreshadowing…

(*) As we arrive to dinner, I see a familiar face from Rotary. We greet each other and are grateful for the exchange. Flo has already ordered her wine at this point and offers me a sip. I’m then flagged down by someone who knows my Aunt Tracy, and then mentions my Aunt Renee, who I wish I knew better. I smile and ask about what she knew of my Aunt Renee, who had passed away from extra-ovarian cancer when I was really young, while a minute later my face removes its attention from her words, causing my body to spin around and rush back towards Flo. As my hands reach out to stand and hug her, a table of four women to my right looks toward me as my vision narrows and asks, “Is that man is crying?” Yes, I am. Out of all the places we could pick in town, this restaurant has a 2nd floor view of the building across the street that used to be called “The Farmer’s Wife” which was real estate my Aunt Renee used to own before she passed away.

(*) Our table is ready. As we are seated at the table, a loaf of hot bread is laid down in front of us, a circular loaf that is perfectly baked. Flo takes a tiny piece and nibbles on it. I’m trying to do Paleo, but I can’t resist perfectly baked bread, so from the same area, I pull on a tiny piece and enjoy its comforting warmth, texture, and taste. They finally bring a glass of wine for me as well, and I take a sip, not intending to ramp up alcohol consumption to a whole glass that would interfere with my heart recovery. I decide that the fresh New England sea bake will be perfect, and so does Flo’s husband, except mine removes the corn and potatoes and leaves only fresh seafood with broth and lemon juice. It was a fantastic first dinner back at home, celebrating a return to a healthy lifestyle and a long life to live fully among friends. The best part is that neither of them know I’ve already paid, and seeing their smiles and gratitude at the end of the meal is priceless when they reach for the folio to find their debt is already settled. (For friends who dine with me and have experienced this, my secret is that I always sneak in payment up front at the host stand while you’re waiting, before you ever get seated at a table with me.)

(*) We opt-out of dessert and I decide to go to the bathroom after dinner. As I am emptying my bladder, I hear a little girl singing a single phrase in the ladies’ room. The words are “Ring-a-round the rosie, A pocket full of posies, Ashes! Ashes! WE ALL FALL DOWN.” I haven’t heard that verse sung near me in years.

(*) As we leave to go home, we exit thanking the Chef/Owner for an incredible meal and for having the bold endurance to become an entrepreneur in order to improve our community. (Flying in FRESH tastes from the ocean is pretty cool to have in landlocked state!) I express my gratitude to him and his wife for taking risks to create a new gathering place in our community and enduring the struggle they must undoubtedly have gone through, both mentally and financially, not knowing who would show up to dine there with them, funding the entire creation of their new concept with more sweat equity than anything, and relying only on hope that their experimentation with new tastes and presentation would win them fans and followers right outside the kitchen. Well, we’re here.

(*) On the drive back to my house in Forsyth, we’re almost to Walgreens in that sketchy area just north of Downtown Decatur. I notice that the firehouse across from Walgreens opens just as we pass the intersection, and three fire vehicles start up their engines. They turn on to the main road and start approaching us from behind. Their red lights and sirens are on, which is weird because I’ve driven this road hundreds of times and have never ever seen this type of response in all my years living here since I was a kid. I tell Gil to pull over so we can let them pass. Not surprisingly, it looks like they’re on a race against time, with one small vehicle in the front, followed by two bigger more well-equipped vehicles in the rear. Wow, that sounds familiar…

Mental Supplements

Published September 17, 2012 in Food - 0 Comments

I’ve been taking a few new supplements to help boost my memory and overall physical fitness.  In two weeks I have begun to notice a significant difference in my mental clarity and acuity, and I wanted to share that formula so you’ll be able to compare it with your own regimine.

Reviewed left to right, then clockwise from yellow bead.

2 Garden of Life Vitamin Code for Men Raw Whole Food Multivitamins (2x daily), L-Carnitine (500mg), EGCg (400mg), L-Lysine (500mg), L-Arginine (500mg), Conjugated Linoleic Acid (770mg), Vitamin D-3 (5,000 IU), S-Adenosyl Methionine SAM-e (200mg), Vinpocetine (10mg), Huperzine A (200 mcg).

Prior to taking these I coat my throat with Barlean’s Total Omega 3-6-9 Oils supplement, which tastes like an orange creamsicle. Then I drink everything down with their Organic Greens superfood supplement. It’s a solid concoction that gives me a lot more energy throughout the day, and I will occasionally supplement fresh fruit juice into my diet with the Breville juicer I have on hand.

For those of you with ADD / ADHD, you might consult with your healthcare provider to find out if adding a non-stimulant medication such as Strattera (atomoxetine) to the mix can help you improve your overall brain function as well.

DC food trucks to food tracks?

Published August 7, 2012 in In The News - 0 Comments

With Rep. John Mica raising hell about Amtrak costing taxpayers $6.65 every time a hamburger is purchased, it seems all the more reason to let entrepreneurs find a better solution.

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Korean Lemonade

Published August 1, 2012 in Travel - 0 Comments

It’s always fun to visit new countries, and Korea has been no exception.  Jae Yul, my close friend from college, has helped to see more than I would have imagined in Seoul.  But here in Asia, the most interesting observations come from the people.  Children in America often are introduced to entrepreneurship when their parents let them run a lemonade stand.  Well, here in Korea, they aren’t kids… and these guys run their stand with the utmost care.  Instead of cups, we are given clean resealable bags with straws.  The cart is impeccable.  The vendors wear plastic gloves, cut fruit neatly with a clean knife, and wipe the lemon press after each use.  It is evident that South Koreans take great pride in their public offering.

This is amazing to me especially because Jae tells me that entrepreneurship is a difficult dream in Korea.  He says that the largest companies control most of the opportunities; it’s apparently tough to start a business here.  But I disagree after seeing the shocking number of food service establishments in the area…  They are all entrepreneurs, and this lemonade stand serves as a springboard for my thoughts here.  When a culture is channeled into an opportunity to serve others, I believe a strong will to thrive emerges.  The lemonade stand behind me might appear to be small, but it’s serving the best damn lemonade I’ve had on my whole trip through Asia.  And from that stand, I now continue to search my surroundings for other examples of successful entrepreneurs.

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Disabled Olympic athletes: unfair?

Published August 1, 2012 in In The News - 0 Comments

Mashable presented an interesting point of view when bringing to light the recent announcement from the London Olympic games that Athlete Oscar Pistorius will be allowed to represent South Africa and compete in the 400m race on Saturday.  The controversy stems from Oscar missing both legs, and critics are claiming that he has an unfair advantage.

I am strongly in favor of disabled athletes competing in the Olympic games, but I do believe they need to be on the same level as their “enabled” peers.  The supporting research from the University of Colorado suggests that Pistorius’ oxygen consumption levels are on par with his fellow competitors, thus he is burning the same amount of metabolic energy.  But is that enough to reinstate his ability to compete?

I think the current measurement falls short.  An honest comparison depends on what you’re using to measure the athlete. While it seems likely in such a short distance that the oxygen consumption be on par with other competitors, I believe a more accurate (and fair) measure of competitive ability would involve measuring the average distance between strides for users of this prosthesis versus the average distance between strides for the “normal” Olympic athletes of a similar height. If the distance is similar, then I believe Mr. Pistorius should indeed be allowed to compete.  Mead McLean on Mashable pointed out that my thoughts were representative of Effective Leg Length.

Nicholas Pang (Co-Founder/Shoe Director, Natural Running Center) mentioned that the Flex-Foot Cheetah (which is the prosthesis that Mr. Pistorius is using) can only return about 90% of the energy stored in it – FAR LESS than the 249% returned from the stored energy in the leg of a normal runner.  So assuming that the ELL and O2 consumption are equal, the runner could actually be at a disadvantage.  Others have said human appendages are more stress-prone in such a way that can work to the disadvantage of a normal competitor, but energy return is another important point for observation.

Patrick Onofre also mentioned that, “The fact that this athlete has suffered from congenital absence of the fibula – essentially lacking a true fibula like the athletes a lot of you are defending – and has had to learn how to compete despite this is an amazing and phenomenal feat.”  I could not agree more.  But I do believe that the ELL must be measured so that the prosthesis can be properly manufactured and fitted uniquely to the wearer in such a way that he is on a fair playing field with the other athletes in his group.


Who pays for Aurora shooting victims’ medical expenses?

Published July 24, 2012 in In The News - 0 Comments

The U.S. debate of firearms ownership was rightfully renewed when James Eagan Holmes shot or wounded 71 people at a Aurora, CO cinema on the 20th of July Batman movie premiere. Just a week prior, a 71 year old man shot armed robbers in Florida and demonstrated the effectiveness of concealed carry permits.  Gun control advocates will surely be on the offense to restrict our rights to bear arms even further, and it saddens me to hear that military members were in the audience of a theater, unable to defend themselves when the shooter approached. Many have argued that a moviegoer armed inconspicuously could have prevented much of the violence. Yet with Holmes’ heavy body armor, would a handgun even have made a difference? It is unreasonable to suggest that the average citizen needs to carry such heavy firearms (with enough punch to respond to a multiple weapon threat from someone wearing body armor) just to tote to the movie theater in Anytown, USA. Should cash-strapped theaters have to provide better security, later reflected in higher ticket admission prices? Some already pay for off duty police officers. Or because their location is visited frequently by the public, is it the taxpayer’s burden to bear? In the situation that unfolded on the 20th, avoiding the shooter was likely the only logical response for those who were confronted.

Gizmodo recently reported on a secret weapons bazaar accepting virtual “untraceable” bit coin currency whose profiteers advocate delivery just about anywhere in the world. How can restrictive firearms laws protect against this kind of illicit trade? In my opinion, they can’t. That burden will fall to the taxpayer to support already-underfunded port security and mail screening programs. However, the last few mass shootings inside the US were all conducted using legally acquired weapons. That means that education and vigilance is likely the best weapon we have against would-be murderers. A gun club owner recognized Holmes’ unusual behavior prior to the Denver-area transgressions, yet no action was taken to report this incident. Continue reading

STRATFOR: Corruption and Why Texas is NOT Mexico

Published May 19, 2011 in Geopolitical Intelligence - 0 Comments
By Scott Stewart

As one studies Mexico’s cartel war, it is not uncommon to hear Mexican politicians — and some people in the United States — claim that Mexico’s problems of violence and corruption stem largely from the country’s proximity to the United States. According to this narrative, the United States is the world’s largest illicit narcotics market, and the inexorable force of economic demand means that the countries supplying the demand, and those that are positioned between the source countries and the huge U.S. market, are trapped in a very bad position. Because of this market and the illicit trade it creates, billions of dollars worth of drugs flow northward through Mexico (or are produced there) and billions of dollars in cash flow back southward into Mexico. The guns that flow southward along with the cash, according to the narrative, are largely responsible for Mexico’s violence. As one looks at other countries lying to the south of Mexico along the smuggling routes from South America to the United States, they too seem to suffer from the same maladies. Continue reading

STRATFOR: Islamist Militancy in a Pre- and Post-Saleh Yemen

Published April 21, 2011 in Geopolitical Intelligence - 0 Comments

By Reva Bhalla

Nearly three months have passed since the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, first saw mass demonstrations against Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, but an exit from the current stalemate is still nowhere in sight. Saleh retains enough support to continue dictating the terms of his eventual political departure to an emboldened yet frustrated opposition. At the same time, the writ of his authority beyond the capital is dwindling, which is increasing the level of chaos and allowing various rebel groups to collect arms, recruit fighters and operate under dangerously few constraints.

The prospect of Saleh’s political struggle providing a boon to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is understandably producing anxiety in Washington, where U.S. officials have spent the past few months trying to envision what a post-Saleh Yemen would mean for U.S. counterterrorism efforts in the Arabian Peninsula. Continue reading